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Technically, I think they’re “pullets” now that their lovely feathers have grown in. Last night Husby made good on his promise and finished the chicken ark just in time for the girls’ 4-week birthday. He and our friend Mark hefted the monstrous thing–4′ x 8′ and full of plywood–into the garden, where it is now parked.
Initially, there was clucking and panicking. But by this morning, everybody was not only still alive but acting all casual, like, “OK, now what?”
I let two chicks out at a time to free-forage while I worked in the garden, figuring that with just two (just like kids!) I could keep an eye on them before they did any damage to the tender greens. Mostly, they were just interested in digging around in the moist, weedy edges where the beds meet the ground, and that was fine by me.
Meanwhile I eradicated most of the tall grass inside the garden. While not exactly a vision of order and rest, it’s still a very pleasant place to be: 17 big beds of vegetable goodness, plus some random stuff like the pea trellis, the strawberry refugium, and the blueberry bushes.